French Fries Most Popular Tot "Vegetable"

Sheri Reed
toddlers eating meal

Photo by midnight_star22

According to the new Nestlé Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study (FITS) just released at at the American Dietetic Association’s Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo, parents and caregivers are listening and following feeding guidance for infants; however, as children grow older, there is still much work to be done to help them build good eating habits.

I guess I'm not overly surprised by these findings; however, it's still pretty interesting.

While the 2008 FITS study shows some positive trends versus the 2002 study (commissioned by Gerber Products Company, now part of the Nestlé family), there are still areas of concern in the diets of young children in the United States.

Here are the 2008 Nestlé FITS Study Highlights, specifically in regard to toddler nutrition:

  • About 25 percent of older infants, toddlers and preschoolers don’t eat a single serving of fruit on a given day, and 30 percent don’t eat a single serving of vegetables. These findings are similar to those in FITS 2002 for infants and toddlers.
  • Fewer toddlers were consuming sweetened beverages in 2008 than in 2002. For children age 18-to-20 months, this number dropped to 29 percent in 2008 from 47 percent in 2002.
  • On a given day, 23 percent of toddlers 12-to-24 months and one third of preschoolers are consuming diets of less than the recommended 30-to-40 percent of calories from fat. Yet, 75 percent of preschoolers are consuming too much saturated fat.

Other survey findings

  • French fries (!!!) are still the most popular vegetable among toddlers and preschoolers.
  • Seventy-one percent of toddlers and eighty-four percent of preschoolers consume more sodium than recommended on a given day.

“Good nutrition from birth through preschool sets the foundation for healthy habits later in life,” said Dr. Kathleen Reidy, Head, Nutrition Science, Meals & Drinks, Nestlé Nutrition.

Looks like many parents and caregivers still need some nutrition help. Without more guidance and support, many young children will continue to fall into unhealthy eating patterns for life.

How can we better help all families to learn healthier nutrition for their toddlers and preschoolers? What do you think needs to be done?

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